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Prock scores emotional win, Herrera makes history to cap wild Richmond race

Funny Car points leader Austin Prock won his second straight race on Sunday for John Force Racing while Doug Kalitta (Top Fuel), Aaron Stanfield (Pro Stock) and Gaige Herrera (Pro Stock Motorcycle) also won the ninth of 20 races during the 2024 NHRA Mission Foods Drag Racing Series season.
23 Jun 2024
Posted by NHRA.com staff
Race coverage

Funny Car points leader Austin Prock won his second straight race on Sunday for John Force Racing, defeating Bob Tasca III in the final round with the quickest run of the weekend at the PlayNHRA Virginia Nationals.

Doug Kalitta (Top Fuel), Aaron Stanfield (Pro Stock) and Gaige Herrera (Pro Stock Motorcycle) also won the ninth of 20 races during the 2024 NHRA Mission Foods Drag Racing Series season.

Prock went 3.921 seconds at 327.90 mph in his 11,000-horsepower Cornwell Tools Chevrolet Camaro SS to power past Tasca and pick up his third win of 2024 in his debut season in Funny Car. Prock dedicated the win to his boss, legendary Funny Car driver John Force, who was involved in a crash in the first round of eliminations on Sunday.

Force suffered an engine explosion at the finish line and then crossed the centerline, striking both guard walls before coming to a stop. The 16-time world champion was alert and was examined onsite before being transported to a local medical facility for further evaluation.   

“This win is definitely dedicated to John Force,” Prock said. “This is one for the books and there were a lot of emotions today and we had to battle a bunch of adversity. This trophy is definitely going back to him. I wanted to get it done for him and this is really special.  I'm super proud of this team to get it done with everything that went on and keeping my head together. 
"We wanted to get it done for him, but I almost felt like I was feeling the pressure early on in the day. I drove terrible in the second and third round. This team's busting their tail out in this heat, and I don't want to be the weak link and I wanted to get it done for John.”

Prock reached the final round with wins against Cruz Pedregon, Ron Capps, and defending world champ Matt Hagan, while Tasca advanced to the championship round for the second time this season with victories against Dave Richards, Tim Wilkerson and Blake Alexander.

Pro Stock Motorcycle’s Gaige Herrera added yet another record in his amazing two-year run on Sunday, going 6.755 at 199.26 on his RevZilla/Mission Foods/Vance & Hines Suzuki to defeat teammate Richard Gadson in the final round. With the victory, the defending world champion set the record for the most consecutive wins in NHRA history, winning his 10th straight race on his Suzuki and eclipsing the previous mark set by Bob Glidden. 

He also now has 39 straight round wins, setting that record on Sunday as well. Herrera, who stayed undefeated in 2024 and hasn’t lost since early September of last year, defeated Chris Bostick and John Hall to reach the finals, picking up his fifth victory of the year and 16th since the beginning of last year, continuing an absolutely historic and dominant run.

“It’s kind of hard to process all of it,” Herrera said. “The amount of accomplishments that have been achieved in such a short time, I tried to sit back and just think about it, and it's very hard, because there are so many of them. I have to thank Andrew [Hines, crew chief] and basically picking me out of a haystack to ride for them. I’ve got to give it all up to Andrew and all the guys at the shop. None of this is possible without them. 
“It's very surreal. Getting the 10 consecutive wins, I think that's the biggest thing that really hasn't set in. Last year, we were feeling like we were doing very good and making everyone else have to step up, so this year, if we go out there and do like we did last year, I think this year is really going to hit us in the face and make us realize what we're doing right now.”

Gadson reached his first career final round after defeating Eiji Kawakami, Jianna Evaristo and Hector Arana Jr.

Doug Kalitta continued to roll in the Top Fuel ranks, defeating teammate Shawn Langdon in the final round with a weekend-best run of 3.752 at 333.41 in his 11,000-horsepower Mac Tools dragster. Kalitta, the defending world champion, added to his points lead en route to his third win this year – also advancing to his third straight final round – and 55th victory in his career.

It's the veteran’s first win at Virginia Motorsports Park since 2007 and his day included round wins against Cam Ferre, Josh Hart and Tony Stewart. That set up a marquee matchup with his Kalitta Motorsports teammate in the finals, guaranteeing a fifth team win in 2024 through the first nine events. Kalitta pulled away from Langdon under the lights, making the first Top Fuel run in the 3.70s this weekend.

“It's been good (this year),” Kalitta said. “We've worked to get to this point for a long time and to see it come together, it seems like just getting down the track is just half the battle most of the days you're out here, and that's been key with my tune-up and the performance of that thing. Alan (Johnson, crew chief) just seems to have a lot of tricks up his sleeve when it comes to moving through those different conditions. What we've had today was a big swing from normal. 
“These crew chiefs out here, it's incredible. I’m really fortunate to have Alan tuning my car. He's proven time and time again that he can figure out different conditions. We're just real, it seemed like the first year he was on my car, we changed a lot of stuff around. Right now, with what we picked up on at the middle of last year and carried into this year, everybody is doing their job. The consistency of putting that thing together is really good right now with the guys. It's just a big team effort.”

Langdon, who moved to second in points, defeated Lex Joon, Steve Torrence and Antron Brown to reach the finals for the fourth time this year.

In Pro Stock, Aaron Stanfield gave Elite Motorsports its third straight victory in the category, as he drove past points leader Dallas Glenn in the final round with a run of 6.614 at 207.15 in his Johnson’s Horsepowered Garage/Janac Brothers car. It is Stanfield’s first victory of the season and the ninth in his career, as he also won for the first time at Virginia Motorsports Park. 

He reached the finals after defeating Val Smeland, Troy Coughlin Jr. and Greg Anderson, posting an outstanding .007 reaching time against Glenn to get the win and get some revenge after Glenn won their final-round matchup in Chicago.

“It was definitely a long hot race day for sure,” Stanfield said. “Dallas has got me a couple times here the past couple of races and it was good to get them back right there. I was blessed with the opportunity to represent JHG this year, and it's good to finally be able to pull off that wind representing their brand.
“It's just a special day. I have my little girl [Oakley] with me here today, and for her to see me win, now she can understand why dad's gone so much, so, it's just a special, special day for me.”

Glenn, who remained in the points lead, knocked off Mason McGaha, Deric Kramer and Bo Butner to reach the finals.

The NHRA Mission Foods Drag Racing Series returns to action June 27-30 with the Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Nationals at Summit Motorsports Park in Norwalk, Ohio.